Music to Cut Paper By


So the thing about cutting paper, is that it’s slow. I mean, I’ve gotten faster since I first got started, but it’s no letterpress or computer based graphic design. There’s still the limitation of the hand holding the exacto knife, and the person sitting in the chair doing it.

And the thing about cutting paper, is that the knife is sharp, and you can’t un – cut paper. So you have to pay attention, which means that watching movies doesn’t work very well. I used to watch documentaries while I worked, but the catch was that if it had an interesting bit, all work would grind to a halt, and I’d come to as the credits rolled. Not a winning strategy for finishing projects.

My compromise has been to play music, podcasts, and other audio while I work. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been listening to:

1. Radiolab  You might have heard these science shows on NPR in the car, depending on where you live, but I ran into these as podcasts. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich spend an hour examining different scientific topics by talking to scientists, doctors, and people on the ground. Fascinating stuff. The production quality is amazing – something like an old fashioned radio drama meets Nova.

2. Stars of the Lid  If you’re someone who can’t concentrate if there’s talking going on, you should check out any of the Stars of the Lid albums. This Austin duo creates vast wordless soundscapes that stretch seamlessly into each other for hours and hours. Beautiful, haunting stuff, and provides a sound backdrop to the studio without sounding like Muzak.

3. Langroise Trio I ran into one of the albums of the Langroise Trio, “Volante”  at the library when I was looking for some background music for an event I was helping with. Apparently, this group resides at the College of Idaho, and has been creating haunting music together for twenty years. “Volante” tells a spare story over the course of the seventeen tracks, weaving more abstract works with a more narrative style.

4. The Moth  Now, if you’re the kind of person who can deal with doing art while listening to words, you should also be listening to The Moth. The Moth is an open – mic story telling event and podcast, where the only rule is to tell the truth, with no notes. You get everything from the hilarious to the heart wrenching, and all of it is really good. Really, really good.

What about you? What are you listening to in the studio this week?

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